WAS thrilled to read this week Ashley Williams’s agent stating that the centre- back is happy to stay at Swansea City.
You don’t need me to tell you that Ash has been a massive part of Swansea’s success over the last few years.
Liberty regulars will know all too well how good he has been on the pitch, that’s there for all to see.
He is an absolute colossus at the back, a great tackler who’s good in the air, is mobile and can spot a pass.
It’s difficult to describe just how big a boost it is to hear he’s not looking to move on because believe me, Ash is definitely good enough to play for a top-four side.
But what Swans fans don’t see is what a huge influence he has off the pitch.
Ash leads by example and others follow, and he has captained the side with distinction this season.
Ash is a huge presence in the dressing room and has an incredible attitude to football.
He is tenacious and has a will to win.
When he speaks others listen, and that is how he goes about things — not shouting but talking.
Ash does not rant and rave, he makes his point calmly.
But he can also have a laugh as well, which is important within a squad. He isn’t a practical joker or anything like that — he’s just up for a bit of fun.
Ash is also really good with the young kids coming through, he encourages them and makes them feel welcome.
His passion inspires other people, it’s infectious and that role behind the scenes is very important.
You need people like Ash to bind a squad together.
In a team, sometimes you get people who might not play very much, but they are influential personalities so still have an important part to play.
Ash is both an important character and a great player which makes him doubly valuable.
There is no doubt in my mind that he is good enough to play for one of the Premier League’s heavyweights.
And I’m sure they’d be interested in him.
But Swansea have to get used to seeing their star players linked with big clubs.
The better they do, the more Premier League heavyweights will come sniffing around.
Another one of Swansea’s prize assets is Leon Britton — but rest assured, he is going nowhere.
When Britts first moved to Sheffield United, I used to talk to him on the phone a lot.
I understood what he was going through because I know what it’s like to leave Swansea and realise you’ve made the wrong move.
You go somewhere else and suddenly you do not fit in like you used to.
Then it doesn’t matter how much money lands in your account every month, if you’re not enjoying football, you’re not enjoying life.
I made the same mistake when I moved away. Not every club is like Swansea and Leon realises that.
He was so grateful to get the chance to come back to the Liberty — and look what’s happened since.
Leon’s wife is from Swansea and he’s settled in the area so I am 100 per cent certain he is not going anywhere else.
Swansea have already done something really special this season, and I think they have the opportunity to achieve even more.
With the Capital One Cup now gleaming in the trophy cabinet, Swansea must focus on producing a strong league finish.
Defeat against Arsenal last weekend was Swansea’s second in a row and that will weigh heavily on their minds during the international break.
It is never nice going into a lay-off on a downer because you have more time to stew on things.
But I think these two defeats will help galvanise Michael Laudrup’s side for the run-in.
They are still ninth in the table so have a real chance of bettering last season’s 47-point, 11th-place finish.
That is important psychologically, so that players feel the progress made over the last few years is continuing.
Swansea could record their second highest league placing of all time, bettered only by 1982 when they ended up sixth.
Records like that are important to players.
It’s not all about money and trophies.
Making club history is an honour that stays with you forever.